The funeral home that you choose to hold or oversee your service or the service of a loved one is important. When you pre-plan a service, you may have more time to think about specific questions to ask the funeral home and director. On the other hand, planning an unexpected service can be an emotional time that makes it difficult to remember every step you need to make. If you find yourself looking for a funeral home either for pre-planning purposes or for a loved one, take along these eight important questions for a funeral director to help you remember what to ask and what you need to know as you create a ceremony to remember.
1. How Long Have You Directed Funerals?
It is important to understand how long a funeral home has been in business and how many services they have planned. A quality funeral director will have a lot of experience and understand the delicate emotions you and your family may be going through.
2. What is Your Basic Services Package?
You should be able to ask your funeral director for a list of their basic services. The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule empowers you to select only the products and services that you need when making funeral arrangements in advance for yourself or when a loved one has passed away.
The Funeral Rule lets you request and see a detailed price list of products and services before choosing what you want. Basic services usually include planning the funeral, securing death certificates and permits, preparing notices, sheltering remains, and arranging products and services with third parties such as the cemetery.
3. What Services Cost an Additional Fee?
Almost every other service or product outside of the basic services package comes with an additional fee. For example, you can expect to pay an additional cost for:
- Memorial Service
- Graveside Service Equipment
- Burial Container or Casket
Since most services are unique and you or your loved one may have specific requests for the funeral, you should always ask upfront for a detailed list of services and their associated prices.
4. Do You Offer Customized Funeral Services?
The answer to this question should be yes. A good funeral director will help you plan a service that you or your loved one can be proud of. At Robinson Funeral Home, we understand that everyone has different needs. If you are looking for a specific accommodation for religious or cultural purposes, our caring staff can help you.
Many people envision a traditional memorial service, which can be a beautiful way to pay tribute to a loved one. However, your funeral home director may be able to help you plan a unique service that can leave a one-of-a-kind imprint on your guests, much like the life of the person being remembered. If you are interested in pre-planning your own unique service or wish to go a non-traditional route with the service of a loved one, ask your funeral director upfront what the funeral home can do to accommodate you.
5. Do You Handle Services or Do You Hire Vendors?
Not every funeral home has a full staff that handles every aspect of a memorial service. If you wish to know exactly who is handling each part of the service you are planning, then just ask. The funeral director should be upfront about which parts are handled by the funeral home staff and what services are outsourced to third-party vendors. It is common for other parties to handle certain aspects of a service, such as the creation of a casket or urn, reserving a hearse or limo, and providing flowers.
Along with the service and price list that you request from the funeral director, you should be able to ask if any vendors are supplying specific services or products.
6. Can the Casket, Urn, or Vault Be Purchased Somewhere Else?
According to the Funeral Rule, a funeral director cannot require you to purchase a casket, urn, or vault through the funeral home. You have the right to browse for these items through other vendors and use them at the funeral home you select for the service. The cost of the casket, urn, or vault depends on many factors, including the materials used to create it and whether transport is required.
7. Is Embalming Required?
Embalming is not a requirement for a funeral service. The decision to embalm the remains depends on the type of service. Embalming is commonly used for services where friends and loved ones may be viewing you or your loved one. It is not always done in the event of cremation. The embalming service may come at an extra cost, but your funeral director should let you know that it is optional. It may be suggested if you plan to have a viewing as part of the service.
8. What Hours is the Funeral Home Staff On Call?
You should know when the funeral home staff is available, particularly if you have pre-planned services. Funeral home staff should be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that when the time comes, you can call the staff and they can let you know when they will arrive to transport your loved one for preparations. If you have any questions about the process of transporting your loved one to the funeral home and what takes place, the funeral director or staff should be available to guide you through any steps, so you know what to expect after you place the call.
Although funeral directors help people all the time to plan services for themselves or for people they love, there is a lot about the process that you may not understand unless you have gone through pre-planning yourself. These eight questions are a great start to ask a funeral director, but consider keeping a pen and some paper handy in case you think of others. At Robinson Funeral Home, our compassionate staff is here to help you understand your options and create a beautiful, dignified service worthy of your loved one. For more information, contact us online or call us at 864-859-4001.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Alpa Prod